Track limits rules changed again after 125 violations on first day

2020 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Formula 1 has revised how track limits will be policed at the Autodromo do Algarve after over 100 violations were recorded on the first day of running at the Portuguese track.

Turns one and four are the two major causes for concern. Over the course of Fridays two 90-minute sessions, 125 lap times were deleted because drivers were judged to have strayed beyond the white lines marking the edge of the circuit at these corners.

As of today’s final practice session, the boundary has been relaxed. Drivers may now run beyond the line and their lap times will be counted providing they remain in contact with the red and white kerb beyond it.

Revised notes issued to the drivers by F1 race director Michael Masi state: “A lap time achieved during any practice session or the race by leaving the track and cutting behind the red and white kerb on the exit of turn one [or turn four] will result in that lap time being invalidated by the stewards.”

Drivers have also been given new instructions regarding the circuit boundary at turn 15. They will now “be judged to have left the track if no part of the car remains in contact with the track” at the final corner.

Algarve International Circuit, Portugal, 2020
Algarve International Circuit, Portugal, 2020

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 34 comments on “Track limits rules changed again after 125 violations on first day”

    1. That must be a new record for number of track limit violations for F1.

    2. FIA: Break the rules enough times and we’ll changed it for you.

      1. Exactly!

        What a ridiculous change to make. The track limits are the track limits, until enough people choose not to obey them.
        So they extend the track limits further….

        For goodness sake F1 – just make it the white line everywhere, all the time. Every circuit has the same white lines.

        1. I don’t agree. For 2 reasons:

          First, normally a curbstone is considered part of the track, and with tracklimits it has always been that way. So they are going back to normal now.

          Second, and I have driven at the Algarve track, the natural flow of the first corner leads you onto the curb. It is the way the first and second corner are designed. Plus, as Grosjean said on his radio, they can’t see the white line form within the car. So the result is they have to follow a unnatural line through turn one, which make turn two weird, while not being able to see where they are.

          There is a reason why 20 professional drivers have 125 laptimes taken away and it’s not because they can’t drive.

          1. Kerbs are not part of the track. It has never been. Considering them part of the track is the abnormality, not vice versa.

            Unnatural corner? So what? Sochi turn 2 is also unnatural, yet they do have to complete that corner.

            The reason is that they want to make use of every millimetres.

            1. To modern drivers curbs denote cornering. They are an integral part of any track now.

            2. @jay
              Having two wheels on a kerb generally still leaves two wheels inside the track limits (inside the white line) – which is why kerbs are the size that they are.
              Crossing the white line with all 4 wheels in basically every series other than F1 is considered leaving the track.

              F1’s implementation of track limit regulations is highly unusual.
              What is the white line even for, if it doesn’t mean anything – but only sometimes?

          2. @marcel
            1. Kerbs are not a part of the track, they are outside of the edge of the track, as defined universally by the white line.
            2. Ah right… So it’s the track designer’s fault, and the car designers fault. Got it.
            You are correct – there is a reason why 20 professional drivers have so many lap times taken away. It’s not because they can’t drive, it’s because they chose not to stay within the track limits.

          3. @marcel What type of car in case it’s a racing car or just a road car?

    3. What does “cutting behind” mean exactly?

      The imprecise nature f Masai’s directives is likely to cause more controversy and confusion.

      1. Wish we still had Charlie and I wish F1 stopped with what now seems to be a policy of an SC/VSC anytime a car is broken down or crashed out no matter how out of the way. I know many times it’s been basically a “competition yellow,” but many times it’s just been this new F1 where basically not even the slightest bit of danger is allowed. This element is probably not down to Masi, but something pre-determined (the safety part likely due to Todt’s campaign to become Europe’s transportation safety czar).

      2. cutting behind clearly means ‘going to the inside of’ in the context

    4. Classic confusion from lack of consistency. During FP1 they were saying lap deleted, and I was thinking, but he was in contact with the kerb, like the last however many races…
      Now we have some corners that are kerb, others that are track, but again vagueness, is the white line the track? I presume so.

    5. If it was a wall, there wouldn’t have been 125 crashes.

      Secondly, how about one rule, imposed on every corner of every circuit on the F1 calendar.

    6. All this silliness would go away if 1:- The track limits are defined by the white line at every track.
      2:- Gravel traps or astro turf or land mines to slow the drivers enough to make them regret going off track.

      I was joking about the astro turf :)

      1. Nop. Uptill this weekend, curbstone have ALWAYS been part of the track. The rules yesterday were inconsistent, today is back to normal.

        1. marcel No you’re wrong!

    7. F1 never seems to be able to stop making a joke of itself.

    8. Unrelated, but I always complain about the terrible camera angles and I think Martin Brundle’s trackside segment during FP2 showed how much cooler they could shoot these cars (it seems he hasn’t done many or any this year). They give a much better sense of how awe inspiring these cars’ speed/change of direction when you see them in person. I wish someone with influence would start making this an issue by writing about it constantly or mentioning it to the powers that be within F1.

      1. You are right – they need to do wide shots that do not follow the car – that way we’ll see the change of direction and relative speed – close up panning shots if the cars eliminate sense of speed and flatten the corners.

        About time they woke up!

      2. It was written about in Bernies day. MotoGP cameras capture the action. F1 captures the advertising. The obvious place was Barcelona where one camera positioned at the exit of Turn 12 captured the cars coming out of Turn 9, through 10 and 11 and 12. Apart from a brief second or two the Rolex clock on the bridge was centre screen right through that sequence of corners. MotoGP used about 5 cameras capturing braking, turn in, change of direction and exit.
        Brundle mentioned it when we went back to France as they followed the same philosophy, sponsors before action.

      3. Although I’m aware of how FOM is lacking with its coverage in showing the speed and track well.. they truly have done worse than most places this weekend. Most of the shots have been so zoomed in on the cars that you cant even see one side or both sides of the track.. but its important to show some surrounding to give a reference.. really bad camera angles this weekend

    9. Don’t be so judgemental. For F1 it’s a new track. New to the teams but also new to the stewards. They tried something, it didn’t work so they changed it. “Ugh they have no spine”. And if they didn’t change it: “why don’t they change it with their out of touch rigid views”.

      Personally I think it’s fine they changed it. The rule is more consistent now.

    10. If a track has a white line and all 4 wheels go over it that is track limit violation.

      Does it need to be more complicated in Qualifying – in the race wheel to wheel action might have some mitigating circumstances.

      F1 needs to stop confusing people – are these the best in world or not? Are there fixed track limits or not?

    11. What does the white line mean anyway? Yesterday Max’s engineer said “all 4 wheels have to be on the track at turn 1” (which I assume is the black tarmac).

      Yet on Bottas’ fastest lap he did put 2 wheels on the kerb in a manner in which most drivers take fast corners, and he got to keep his time. Confused wording much?

      1. How can there not be one single rule for all turns on all tracks? There is a white line, use it!

        Same for everyone. Easy to remember for drivers and audience.

    12. Good thing, as it should’ve been from the beginning of the event as per the standard. I’ve already pointed out the following once, but T15 is still entirely useless for this purpose as no one goes off there on dry conditions anyway due to the turning angle, so Masi should just forget about that corner.

      1. I forgot to take off ‘I’ve already pointed out the following once’ after I copy-pasted my post from another site.

      2. So F1 should keep doing things in a silly and unusual way and allow drivers to drive outside the track in some places, but not in others?
        Wouldn’t you prefer consistency? Where the white line is the limit all the time and in every corner at every track?

        Everyone is screaming for consistency in F1 stewarding and race management, and yet still calling for bizarre and arbitrary track limits rules.
        I don’t understand F1 followers.

        1. @S The consistency I’m referring to is the standard of using curbing as the reference wherever and whenever there is one in place.

          1. It’s only ‘consistent’ in F1 terms because they’ve been wrong for so long already.
            Consistently inconsistent – sometimes the white line is the track limit, and sometimes it isn’t.

    13. Masi makes it Messi.

    14. They will now “be judged to have left the track if no part of the car remains in contact with the track”

      This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read.

      1. It’s just a little bit too practical and literal, that’s all.
        The problem is that the definition of ‘the track’ changes according to where they are.

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